Sunday, 11 August 2013

My body speaks and it is not pleased.

This is a sponsored post by CrossFit Manila Kapitolyo.

I heard from a friend some months ago that kids as young as 14 and 15 have started going to the gym. Not for health reasons but for aesthetic ones because for sure, those 14 / 15 years olds can run a marathon without so much as a drink of water. I couldn’t believe it and yet somehow it made sense. Which is different from sensible, but I understood the why of it. Because you know what happens when you turn 14 / 15? Girls happen.

I think there’s a lot more pressure now for young guys to look as good if not better than the girls they are hoping to date. And maybe the girls also expect much more from guys. Either that or we’ve been having a severe shortage of charm and must base our strategy instead on really tight shirts.

Shout out to Jersey.

Well you know what? I can play their game.

So I went with the Somoms to CrossFit Manila in Kapitolyo. CrossFit has been showing up on my feed almost everyday now cuz some of my friends are into it. And those who are into it, are really into it. Fanatically into it.

Seeing as how my mind is regressing to that of a 14 / 15 year old, I dove right in. We met coach Mike and Matt who were very gracious in introducing us to the sport / exercise / lifestyle. They explained that during a class, regardless of skill / strength level, everybody does the same workout.

Everybody does the same intense, high heart-rate workout together. The difference comes in how many reps each individual does. A beginner like me may do 5 reps while a more advanced person will be able to do 50. The exercise scales to you and how far you can push.

For me, I prefer short bursts of intense activity. It’s less time and you get maximum results. Plus I can’t spend all day at the gym. I’m a dad dude, I got things to do!

So everyone took the floor and did a few laps around the “box” – a deceptively simple teleportation machine that sends you to the 6th circle of hell. Please note that up to that day, I had NOT exercised AT ALL IN YEARS. (Except maybe a quick sprint to save my child from the metal jaws of an escalator.)

All the exercises we did are designed to work the entire body all at the same time. Whereas in a traditional gym, the equipment they use isolates muscle groups like the biceps or legs or abs. CrossFit views the entire body as one muscle. That’s why the exercises require full body movement, using arms, legs and the core.

The movements are also designed to be useful in a practical sense. Their movements mimic everyday actions like lifting grocery bags, lifting your child, standing up, getting in and out of your car, reading books, making coffee… (okay I made up the last 3, but the rest were true.)

Anyway I’ll cut to the chase and tell you what the most interesting thing for me was. We did this one exercise where they handed me a 5 pound basketball which I had to throw up to the ceiling, catch, squat down to my knees with, push up again and throw back up in one motion, continuously 20 times. 20 times equals 1 rep. I had to do 3 to 5 reps. My memory gets a little hazy at this point cuz parts of my brain started shutting down.

After about 3 – 4 minutes I had done it about 10 times and it was all downhill from there.

You know when you’re at the mall really late and you’re the last ones there and the shops start closing their lights one by one. The noise of the mall starts to fade, the bland, non-offensive mall music becomes quiet, the security guards begin ushering people out. That’s how the inside of my body felt after about 4 minutes of madness.

I sat down because that’s infinitely less embarrassing than falling face first on the ground. My eyes were open but I couldn’t really see anything. I just focused on breathing and not passing out. Right now my body was giving me the biggest, the loudest WHAT THAT FUCK WAS THAT. So I just sat there and listened as my body went amok inside.

I literally could feel the neurons shutting down in my brain as if it was the Enterprise diverting all power to life support. The captain was going down with the ship.

My legs somehow managed to muster enough strength to walk to the counter where they sell bottled water. I was amazed they understood what must have sounded like a foreign language to them.

“Msh water plsfshfshgsdnsduhuegfclncAIhfq;hfk.”

It's hard to talk when you're a camel.

The blood receded from my head just enough that I could go back to the box and try to participate in the final exercise. They made us lie down on yoga mats. I did an invisible fist pump. And then they made us touch our toes in the air. Many, many times. My body decided that it wants to continue on living. All activity was stopped and I lay there thinking about how wonderful it is to just breathe.

CrossFit is an intense program for those who thrive on the challenge. It treats your whole body as one muscle so that every part of you is conditioned and grows strong. You are pushed to the very edge but there are friendly and encouraging people around you every step of the way.

It’s a lot more interesting than a traditional gym and definitely more intense. Also, you come away with better stories. In the end I realized that it's not really about how good you'll look after the pain fades (though you definitely will... feel the pain), it's more a personal journey. One that doesn't really have an end. Just here, just you, getting from one rep to the next. 

They offer a program for 6 – 12 year old kids – CrossFit Kids every Saturday at 1pm. Do check them out.

Find them and the schedules for classes here at CFMNL-Kapitolyo.

Follow them on Instagram @cfkapitolyo.

Check out the other brave souls who can CrossFit harder and longer than this SoDad.

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